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COVID-19: A Booster for Digital Transformation

Posted By Iris Boers, Thursday, May 14, 2020
Updated: Monday, May 11, 2020

by Iris Boers
Vivit EMEA Local User Group Liaison

Business and IT have, in the past, used times of crisis to adapt and transform themselves for the better. While COVID-19 has created a ruckus within the human society across religions, races, geographies, countries, and continents and has undeniably had a devastating effect on business, and life itself, it will also be a catalyst for change, compelling organizations to rethink their long-term operations and spending as well as their business models, working cultures and journeys of digital transformation within an enterprise for the future.

Even if COVID-19 is currently seen as an acute threat to our economy, the current situation also serves as an indicator for the future viability of a company: an indicator of where companies currently stand in terms of digital transformation. It is an indicator of how flexibly they are reacting to massive market changes and also of how they are able to use their data. The coronavirus crisis is transforming what was previously an abstract topic for many people, digitalization, into a concrete mission - with concrete problems and concrete solutions. No matter what our new normality will look like after the virus, whether more folks will stick with grocery delivery, having gotten used to the convenience, whether many will continue to work more in the home office or to what extent business travel will once again be part of the business routine - whatever those new developments are, it’s clear that IT-transformation and digitalization will play a significant role. For the success of digital transformation initiatives in companies, it is important to balance agility, speed, risk, business value, and quality, along with access to back-end systems of record.

Agility and Speed

No one can say with certainty how the economic and social situation will develop in the coming months. This makes it all the more important to accelerate developments, new products, and services while remaining flexible and open to changes in plans. The demand for high-velocity software development to support digital transformation across multimodal platforms increases complexity radically. As a result, organizations will need to shift to agile process adoption, automation, and analytics to support business execution, continuous quality, performance, deployment, and security.

To succeed, agile DevOps responsiveness to business stakeholder needs via IT/business collaboration end to end (including modernization and systems of record) is key.

Recommendation: Review and address iterative, continuous development, and testing approaches from functional through security to performance testing and automation gaps to create continuous quality across teams.

To learn more about continuous integration and delivery and Model-Based Testing for ALM Octane, register now for the upcoming webinar presented by the United Kingdom & Ireland Local User Groups (LUGs) on May 27th.

Security, Risk, and Governance — Protect Apps, Identities, and Data

Digital measures to combat the pandemic, such as the tracing apps, for example, make it clear that the relevance of data, its use and the discussion about its protection, is taking on a whole new significance for society, politics and also for companies. Any organization without a plan to prioritize the protection and management of sensitive and personal data place their reputation, brand, and high-value data at great risk. It must also meet challenges such as mergers and acquisitions, digital transformation to the cloud, and the growing, global, requirement to safeguard personally identifiable information.

Recommendation: Businesses must understand that data discovery, classification, and controls for both structured and unstructured data are as important to security as the techniques used to secure it.

If you would like to learn more about how Cybersecurity and Privacy can go hand in hand and how to protect IT ecosystems and reduce risk to on-premises, hybrid, or cloud environments for all identities, register here now for the Micro Focus Virtual Universe. From Tuesday, May 19 through Thursday, May 21, attendees will have access to the highest quality content delivered by Micro Focus executives, product experts, partners, customers, and our community. You’ll have multiple opportunities for 1:1 meetings and product demos—all tailored to meet your business needs and your professional development and educational goals – and at no cost – the participation in the virtual conference entirely free of charge. Vivit Worldwide as a sponsor will have a virtual booth within the Digital Transformation Zone, so come and visit us and learn more about the Community

To conclude, COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees shattering the businesses and economies worldwide. However, these challenges provide an opportunity for new businesses to flourish based on a new digital reality. Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach many new areas. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it.

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Welcome New Leader - Mikhail Vorotyagin

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 14, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mikhail Vorotyagin
PJSC Sberbank
Russia LUG Leader

Vivit Worldwide is pleased to welcome Mikhail Vorotyagin as a new Russia LUG Leader. Mikhail will now lead the local user group together with Vadim Gordadze, who has been the local leader here for many years, and will be the contact person for members. Thanks to his technical expertise, he will focus on quality management, testing methodology, testing automation and test management.

Mikhail Vorotyagin has got an outstanding professional expertise with more than 14 years of IT expertise. As head of SAP testing Service, in the QA Department of SberTech - the IT service department of Sberbank- for more than 6 years, he is managing software implementation teams, which develop, set up and conduct testing, implement quality processes and DevOps. With more than 10,000 employees and more than 184 automated systems in testing and 400 systems in development, SberTech has the biggest installation of Performance Center in EMEA.

His competences and professional emphases are in the areas such as development and implementation of IT Strategies, creation of software development, procurement testing services team as well as the development of test automation tools, the calculation of the cost of ownership of tools for automation of functional testing, load and test management, calculation of ROI indicators. He is also experienced in the implementation of the SAP application delivery pipeline and DevOps practices in SAP. His private preferences include skiing and cycling.

As a new Vivit Leader for the LUG Russia, he wants to strengthen and enhance the exchange of experiences within the ADM area between different experts in one platform (forums, chats). One of his main concerns as a new leader is to develop and establish new connections to resolve technical tasks in QA area and to build a forum for the promotion of new ideas. He is convinced that the most significant added value the Vivit Worldwide user community offers to its members is that Vivit members break the board between experts from different countries, and provide new concepts and technology from first hand.

We wish you, Mikhail, a good start as new leader and look forward to many activities in LUG Russia in the coming months.

Tags:  Welcome New Leader 

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It's All About Testing - and Not Only in Times of COVID-19

Posted By Iris Boers, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Friday, March 27, 2020
Why the right test management is an important component and success factor – not only to stop the Corona Pandemic but also in software development

by Iris Boers
Vivit EMEA Local User Group Liaison

The year 2020 has so far been dominated by the novel corona virus Sars-CoV-2, which has spread worldwide in recent months since it first appeared in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan at the turn of the year. In Europe in particular, the number of infected people is rising rapidly, and many nations have already responded with rigorous measures. Almost all European countries have sealed off their external borders with neighbouring countries to slow down the spread of the virus. Public life has come to an almost complete standstill almost everywhere and social distancing and self-isolation have become a matter of course everywhere.
No matter where you look, the strategy of individual countries, no matter where in the world, in fighting the pandemic is the same everywhere. Bringing public life down to a lunar scale, isolating those identified and above all testing, testing, testing.

But especially when it comes to testing, or rather test management, there are considerable differences between the individual countries, which leads to data confusion and a lack of data evidence, and which ultimately makes it difficult to better estimate the true extent of the pandemic. To understand the scale of the COVID-19 outbreak, and respond appropriately, it is absolutely vital to know how many people are infected by COVID-19. With the current test procedures, where mostly only people with symptoms, sometimes even only people in hospitals with severe courses are tested, there is, for example, a high degree of uncertainty regarding the number of unreported cases of those actually infected, which makes it difficult to better understand the virus and to better adopt the measures taken.

The importance of quality test data and effective test data management

The test data management is not only in the case of the fight against Corona- epidemic of pivotal importance, we as IT professionals know already for a long time that high-quality and realistic test data is the lifeblood of any automated test process within the software development. Put simply: GOOD TEST DATA = GOOD TESTING AND DEVELOPMENT

Having access to stable test data is the biggest challenge to effective test automation for most organizations. And now, with the fast feedback required by DevOps, the consequences of a lack of good test data are even worse. That's not going to cut it when most organizations now see quality as a key driver for business outcomes, according to The World Quality Report. Too many organizations are faltering with test automation—and therefore DevOps—because they can't, or don't, manage test data appropriately.

To be successful in DevOps you need a reliable set of automated tests that confirm that a given build is ready to move to the next stage in your pipeline. To be reliable, your tests must have access to a consistent, predictable set of data. But having good data is only one matter, but what about the environments? Where can tests access this data, and how?

The ideal solution occurs in tandem: spinning up environments and data simultaneously ensures that they both align, avoiding the bugs and delays created by data/environment misconfiguration. Adding modelling, synthetic test data generation and virtual data creation to this approach furthermore augment the quality of both test data and environments, enabling complete test execution against vastly complex systems.

Making the simultaneous and augmented data/environment provisioning available on-demand further removes bottlenecks and a dependency on a central team. It provides parallel access to the data and environments needed to test fast-changing systems rigorously and continuously.

If you would like to learn more about how to optimize and accelerate test automation and about the quality of Test Data and effective Test Data Management, here are some tips from the Vivit Community:

Keep safe and stay healthy! #WeSupportYou

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Post a Job Opening or Add Your Resume to the Vivit Career Center

Posted By Stephanie Konkoy, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By Stephanie Konkoy

     Vivit Engagement Director

Looking for a new job? Needing to hire someone? Want to post a job opening? The Vivit Career Center is at your service, which is one of the many benefits of being a Vivit member.

To post your resume to the Vivit website, log into the Vivit website and go to My Resumé/CV. Simply complete the form and attached your Resume/CV. Edits to your career postings can be made in My Career Postings. Both of these options are located on the Vivit website in Manage Profile.

If you are looking to Post job openings, find potential candidates, search openings and subscribe to new posting notifications, go to the Vivit Career Center and be sure to subscribe to the page.

If you need any assistance logging into the Vivit website or have any questions, email us at Happy hunting and hiring!

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Helpful Tips for Working from Home

Posted By Richard Bishop, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2020

by Richard Bishop
Vivit Board Director/Advocacy Chairperson

Like most people who are able to, I’m working from home for the foreseeable future. I’ve been working from home for 2 or 3 days per week for approximately ten years,  or so I have a pretty nice setup (multiple screens, proper office chair, decent headset and webcam). Here are a few tips that I have for working from home.

Try to work “normal hours” and have a routine

It’s very easy (especially if you have a job that you enjoy) to spend too long “at work”. The daily commute is an opportunity to get ready for work and then wind down at the end of the day by listening to podcasts, the radio or reading if you’re using public transport. You don’t have this commute time and it is common for work to expand to fill the hours that you spend at your desk. Make sure that you take breaks and make time for ad-hoc chats with colleagues via VOIP calls, IM chats or phone.

Create ground rules for family and friends

It is common for family and friends to ring you if they know that you’re at home or if you have children for them to interrupt you when you’re working. Establish some ground rules to avoid interruptions if you can.

Have breaks

You’re going to be sitting down for most of the day, the walk to the kettle or fridge is likely to be less than the walk to the canteen or sandwich shop in the office. You won’t be walking to meeting rooms so make sure that you take breaks from time to time. Maybe aim for 5 minutes per hour away from your desk (or more if that suits you.)

Go out at least once per day

In the office, nobody thinks twice if you aren’t at your desk for 10 minutes or so and it’s easy to feel that you have to stay at your home desk all the time. Go out and get some fresh air even if you just go for a 5-minute walk.

Don’t mix work and pleasure

Make a separate space for working. If you’re fortunate to have a spare room that you can turn over to “office” use I’d recommend that you do it. This helps you to separate your work and home life. Keep distractions away from your working area and learn to separate work and home tasks.

Keep a separate phone number

If you have a work phone, keep it for work calls only and try not to use your personal phone for work calls. This helps you to switch between roles. Consider using VOIP or Skype for work to keep your personal phone “personal”.

Make sure you are visible

It is easy for people in the office to forget that you’re around (although when everybody is working from home this is less of an issue). Stay busy and avoid distractions. When you’re working remotely it is important to make sure that people can see that you’re productive. Respond promptly to emails and especially instant messenger chats, even if it is just to say that you’re busy and that you’ll respond later.


You aren’t a hermit. Make time for calls (or better still video chats) with colleagues. Remind them that you’re there and available for work. This also helps to keep you informed about other goings-on at work and maintains team spirit.

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Video Conferencing for Newbies

Posted By Richard Bishop, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Thursday, April 2, 2020

by Richard Bishop
Vivit Board Director/Advocacy Chairperson

Some years ago I worked for a company demonstrating video conferencing software. This was at a time when video conferencing was in it’s infancy and long before video could reliably be compressed to be delivered via an internet connection to a mobile device (or even reliably to a laptop). As part of a team effectively “selling” video conferencing equipment when each terminal cost £5,000 or more it was important to make the experience of the customer (at the remote end) as realistic as possible.

Here are a few tips to improve your video conferencing experience which may be useful now that thousands of us are working from home due to the Covid-19 virus.

Make the best use of your Internet bandwidth. Use a wired connection if possible, if this isn’t practical and your home router supports 5GHz as well as 2.4GHz, try to connect to the 5GHz network which tends to be faster to try to reduce jitter, blockiness and video stalls.

To improve sound quality, use a headset rather than the laptop microphone and speakers and position the microphone approximately 10cm from your mouth.Try to avoid breathing directly into the microphone to reduce those loud “breathing noises” at the far end.

Avoid wearing clothes with a complex pattern (especially check and striped patterns). This helps you to avoid the moiré effect.

Make sure that you are well lit and avoid sitting in front of a window (backlighting is usually bad). Be aware of the time of day and try to avoid sitting in direct sunlight. Indirect lighting tends to be more flattering 🙂

Ideally use a “proper webcam” rather than a laptop webcam. Especially if you’re using multiple screens. Put the camera at eye level on top of the screen where you will view the remote person. This means that when you look at their image, you create the illusion that you are looking at them. This makes the remote person feel more connected to you and has the benefit of ensuring that the remote person isn’t looking directly up your nose (like in my picture below).

To improve the illusion of eye contact with the person that you are meeting, resize the remote video so that it is as small as possible and put the remote image directly underneath the webcam.

Try to de-clutter so that the background is as plain as possible. Alternatively use the “screen blur” options in videoconferencing software like MS Teams so that people pay attention to you and not the background.

Join calls on “mute” and “unmute” just before you want to speak. This avoids the people at the remote end listening to you cursing and swearing because you can’t get the microphone to work. It also prevents interruptions such as a a ringing phone or doorbell from switching the focus to you when you don’t want to be the centre of attention.

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Social Distancing Offers Opportunities

Posted By Jill Stefan, Thursday, April 9, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

by Jill Stefan
Vivit Director of Marketing

As most of us start to get adjusted to our “new normal” of working from home during this social distancing period, we will find that organizing our days will keep us focused and more productive. Vivit Worldwide invites you to view our Virtual Customer Days On-Demand recordings.

View this incredible video library of Application Delivery Management (ADM) and IT Operations Management (ITOM) sessions with live Q & A after each session.

Virtual Customer Days ADM and ITOM Speakers

ADM Sessions
  • Digital Evolution with Micro Focus DevOps
  • Boosting the Coverage and Effectiveness of Shift-left Testing Micro Focus UFT and LoadRunner Solutions
  • How to Adapt and Thrive in an Omni-channel World
  • Increased Automation Productivity and Resilience Using AI
  • Journey to DevOps, Touching Upon Areas Where Micro Focus Can Help Customers Shine
  • Micro Focus ALM Octane: DevOps Management & Integration for Continuous Delivery and Quality
  • Digital - Redefining Business and IT. A Look at How Trends are Affecting Enterprises
  • DevOps Test Automation with LeanFT
  • Testing as a Service Platform Model: Silver Bullet Meets Red Herring in Utopiaville
  • Secrets of Test Automation: Identify Objects on the Fly with the Magic Object Model
  • Ask ADM Anything Roundtable

ITOM Sessions
  • Trends Where Things are Shaping
  • Data Protector
  • Service Management Automation X (SMAX)
  • Operations Bridge
  • Network Operations Management
  • Data Center Automation
  • Next GenOps for ITOM
  • Critical Incident Management on the Tracks: Adding a Fully Automated Communication Layer to OpsBridge and SMAX
  • Ops Bridge Evolution: The Journey, Challenges and the Value Add
  • SMAX as Service
  • Integration with Derdack Operations Manager and Network Node Manager to include Integration to Service Manager for Automatic Alerting to End Users
  • Cognitive Engineering - Intelligent Enterprise RPA Adoption
  • Ask ITOM Anything Roundtable

Vivit's Virtual Customer Days Sponsors

Don't Miss Our Bonus Sessions

All our speakers joined in on a highly informative live roundtable session after each full day.

Live Q&A sessions after each session

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5 Things You'll Love About Joining a Vivit Local User Meeting

Posted By Iris Boers, Thursday, March 12, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

For more than two decades, formerly HPE software and now Micro Focus customers, developers, and partners from around the globe have come together to network, learn, and share ideas at Vivit, the unbiased, trusted and field-tested community for the all Micro Focus software products. Today there are already almost 40,000 members, organized in 83 Local User Groups (LUGs), spread over 31 countries, covering mainly the American, APJ and European regions. Also, there are 22 Special Interest Groups ( SIGs), which are organized worldwide. The ever-growing popularity of Vivit Worldwide User Groups speaks to the power of shared knowledge and best practices, as well as to the fun of the Vivit community. Needless to say, if you’re not attending one in your local community, you’re missing out!

Want to join in the awesome? Here are the essential details about the world of Vivit Local User Groups, and how you can benefit from joining one – including the free swag.

What is the main difference between a user meeting and an event organized by the vendor himself?

Before we show you some unbeatable reasons for visiting a LUG event in your region, let us first explain the difference between such a user meeting and an official Micro Focus event. Vivit User Groups (or LUGs) are free, community-led gatherings of Micro Focus users. The topics and agenda are curated by each user group’s leader and above all by the members themselves. Usually, the meeting is hosted by a member company, which offers a direct and not least a live insight into their systems, how the different software products are used and how they have implemented it in the system environment. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a veteran, all users are welcome - all attendees are equally enthusiastic about the result: learning and best practices in abundance.

User meetings - what makes them so different, so valuable…

5 things people love about their Vivit Local User Group Meetings
  1. Learning best practices for Micro Focus products
    Whether you’re focusing on functional testing, performance engineering, test automation, or DevOps Management and integration for Continuous Delivery and Quality or on Service Management Automation, Data Center Automation, Network Management Operation or on Security, Risk, and Governance, you’ll get an absurd amount of knowledge and inspiration at your local user group. The best practices, tips, and tricks either come directly from Micro Focus or industry experts and are guaranteed game-changers.

  2. Hanging with the heroes…and becoming one
    Vivit LUG members and leaders are the Micro Focus rockstars within their organizations and they love to share solutions to common business problems. At user groups, you’ll get tactical suggestions that you can take back to your teams to help them be more successful. Trust us, they’ll be carrying you around on their shoulders in no time.

  3. Meeting and learning from Micro Focus users just like you
    User groups are a great way to learn what works (or doesn’t) for teams just like yours. Joining a local user group is the best way to immerse yourself in the Micro Focus community and make new friends while you’re at it. User group meetings offer a unique and differentiated mix, where participation, collaboration, learning, and sharing is a regular occurrence. Along the way, members will build a relationship, grow experiences and deliver results.

  4. Being the first in the know
    Vivit LUG members are always in-the-know with the latest on new products and features. For more than 38,000 customers and partners, Vivit is the only source of information on Micro Focus information that is completely unbiased, uncensored, trusted and field-tested. But being a Vivit member and belonging to a local user group means also to be part of the Micro Focus family and being part of the family means getting the inside scoop. If you’re an early adopter or like being on the cutting edge, you’ll love the information exchange at user groups.

  5. Build new friendships, enjoy networking in a relaxed atmosphere with sometimes beer, pizza, and awesome swag
    As you attend more meetings, you tend to see the same people and build friendships that go beyond your technology interests. You will meet interesting people from all walks of life. Taking part in a local user meeting not only allows you to exchange ideas with peers in a relaxed atmosphere but also provides support and know-how on Micro Focus software solutions that your business needs to stay ahead of the competitors. And by the way, the user meetings are not only pure work but also a lot of fun by grabbing a slice of pizza and cold beverages.

We could go on for days, but nothing compares to experiencing it for yourself. View the Vivit Worldwide calendar to see when your next local user group is meeting.

Don’t see your city on the list? Fear not! You can live out one of our values, “Be the change you seek”, by starting up a new group. Learn more about how we can help you create and lead a user group in your city here.

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Why Your Peers Should Join Vivit, the Independent Micro Focus User Community?

Posted By Rocky Pisto, Vivit Engagement Coordinator, Thursday, March 12, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Why your peers should join the user group that has served HP Software, HPE Software and now Micro Focus Software members since 1993? Well, there are a lot of reasons that end-users and partners came together to support the sustainability of these enterprise-class solutions and career paths of its members.

Local User Group (LUG) Meetings

One of the key reasons members find Vivit so valuable is their local user group meetings. Attending Vivit LUG meetings can have many benefits for both you and your employer. Not all necessary skills and knowledge are gained simply from job experience and education alone. In addition to on-the-job training, an employee will garner much-needed information from experts in the field and in turn add value to their employer when they apply the new skills. As an employer, the investment in your employee’s skills and training will give you an invaluable return on investment.

Gain New Knowledge

In the typical Vivit LUG event, you will learn something new at every meeting. At these events, Micro Focus will speak about software updates, and end-users share real-world experiences with the technology. Micro Focus partners share use case scenarios. Just remember: A knowledgeable employee is a valuable employee.


Our members are people who are using similar software as you. After all, everyone is attending the same meetings to get the same information. Don’t be afraid to exchange contact information and stay in touch. Whether your LUG focuses on ITOM, ADM, Security or Big Data, it is part of a larger community of peers. By networking, you can help your peers in more ways than you may think, and vice versa.

Free Food and/or Swag

While the main purpose of the meetings is the information presented, there are often bonuses for attending. Vivit LUG events provide food and possibly swag as give ways to attendees. It can sometimes be difficult to spend the little free time you have attending Vivit LUG meetings. Sometimes a slice of pizza or a free book can make it an easier decision.

Ask Questions and Get Answers

One of the big benefits of attending a live presentation is that you can interact with the presenters and the audience. Many times, I have heard difficult questions asked of the presenter, and the answers provided by audience members who understand the environment even better than the presenter does. Remember, many attendees are probably in the same field as you and have many years’ experience with the solution. Vivit LUGs will offer you great resources.

Find a Job

If your company has moved away from a Micro Focus solution, I highly suggest being part of Vivit LUG near you. Not only are you gaining information that makes you more marketable, but other members may be looking to hire someone just like you.

Find a Candidate

Though we do not consider a Vivit LUG meeting as a place to find future employees, Vivit member companies may be looking to augment their staff with new projects. It is an excellent pool of highly qualified candidates who tend to be of a higher caliber. User group members tend to be the type of people who always want to go above and beyond to expand their knowledge and capabilities.

Build Friendships

As you attend more Vivit LUG meetings, you tend to see the same people and build friendships that go beyond your technology interests. You will meet interesting people from all walks of life. You may even run into one unexpectedly at another event you are attending alone, which can make the event even better.

Become a More Rounded Employee

Every employer wants employees who are willing to go the extra mile. In the technology world, things are constantly changing. By talking to other user group attendees, you just may find that others have implemented processes that you never even considered. I always love to hear how others have come up with a great solution thinking outside the box.

If you have the time and ability, volunteer some of your time to help with your LUG, or with an event. It is a great way to meet people and learn along the way. It also looks great on your resume.

Learn How to Be at the Top 1% of Your field

Like I said before, group members tend to be the type of people who always want to go above and beyond to expand their knowledge and capabilities. In any technology field, complacency does not lead to a prosperous career. To be the best we can be, we must learn, learn, and learn some more. Talk to other attendees to find out what they do to stay ahead of the curve. Everyone learns differently, so try everything and find what works best for you. In most cases, your company has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a solution for you to support the organization, take advantage of the situation and learn as much as you can.

As you can see, attending Vivit LUG meetings not only benefits yourself as a professional but is also a big benefit to employers. Participate in your local user group meetings, learn something new, and make some friends in the process. If you are a veteran in the field, I highly encourage you to consider becoming a leader in the user group community. It is hard to beat the great feeling of helping others learn and grow. I know, I did it for close to 20 years in Michigan and Ohio.

Today, more and more employers are pushing their employees to be in the public eye (i.e., social media). Along with all the benefits of attending user group meetings mentioned in this blog, becoming a leader in the user group community can provide certain credibility that is otherwise difficult to obtain.

To ensure all customers can participate in a network of vibrant, meaningful, and growing user group communities, Vivit has LUGs all over the world and will continue to support Micro Focus solutions as customers get involved. We are always looking for Vivit leaders to support the solutions of our members at the local levels as well as our virtual special interest group.

Not a member? Join today!

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Old but Gold: COBOL at 60, a Living Legend and Still Matters

Posted By Iris Boers, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The only constant in life is change and especially those responsible for IT know this all too well. Corporate IT is caught in a permanent state of change - currently microservices and containers, programming languages such as Python, R and Ruby, blockchains, artificial intelligence (AI) and an ominous Facebook currency are stirring up the scene. Just in the digital era, in which the society seems to be obsessed by technical innovations, IT is forced to keep up with the speed and constantly support the new, even the disruptive, to keep the economy running. Everything must change so that new projects and products can take their place. This is the way business works! But some things are so important and indispensable that it is better never to change them, or even better not to touch them. Even as we have just jumped into a new decade of our millennium, 80% of the world’s corporate data lives on a mainframe. Ninety-six of the world’s top 100 banks, 23 of the top 25 US retailers and nine of the world’s 10 largest insurance companies use mainframe technology. There’s a lot of old code, often COBOL-based code, out there that provides value. But what does that mean exactly for the business or for our lives? Let’s take a closer look….

COBOL is still alive and kicking

We use COBOL every day and it will continue to touch our lives, whether we know it or not. There are still more COBOL transactions than Google searches each day. Any time we phone a call center, any time we transfer money, or check our account, or pay a mortgage, or renew or get an insurance quote, or when contacting a government department, or shipping a parcel, or ordering some flowers, or buying something online at a whole range of retailers, or booking a vacation, or a flight, or trading stocks, or even checking your favorite baseball team's seasonal statistics, we’re talking to a COBOL app.

So why would one want to change them?

Well, one reason is: It’s not Java. COBOL was created in an era where IT didn’t have the meaning it has today. A program was mainly designed to replace simple repetitive tasks such as retrieving data from a database, performing a couple of operations and generating a report or updating some other data. Today’s programs have to present a front-end to thousands of users, go through different layers of security, logic and quick data retrieving before accessing the back-end to ultimately alter data and send some information back to the user. There are also a number of other problems that cause headaches for IT departments when looking to the future such as:

  • Growing business needs must be met by increased system capacity and performance
  • High cost of maintaining legacy applications
  • And a shortage of employees that are skilled in legacy languages

And with digital change, IT departments are under increasing pressure to deliver enterprise applications at ever-faster development times. To successfully drive the digital transformation, new technologies and target-oriented techniques are needed to adapt IT systems accordingly to meet market and competitive requirements, as well as agile concepts for application delivery to make the software development process faster and more efficient.

Thinking of replacing your COBOL…. There is a better way to do

The question therefore arises whether COBOL applications, which are more vital than ever, can meet the needs of the new digital era too? Because what has worked well for years and could continue to be very valuable may not meet the requirements of tomorrow. Change is unavoidable, but how exactly can it be accomplished?

Thinking of replacing your COBOL?

Be careful and don't dismiss legacy applications without understanding the technology or the value of the investment in the applications your organization has developed. And you certainly shouldn't dismiss critical applications as they are the company’s beating heart - and no one would suggest a heart transplant lightly. So this option is far too risky to lose decades of competitive advantage and IP.

Should I re-write the old COBOL application?

For one thing it’s far too expensive and risky to rewrite legacy applications along newer architectural lines. And another we're in a world where it doesn't make sense to keep rewriting things over and over, because rewriting isn't the best value of the intellect of our software engineers. Today, enterprise architects don't care what language an application is written in; they care about how to decompose the application into services that they can integrate and reuse. The building block is no longer a subroutine or library - it's a microservice, probably running in a container.

Should I re-use it? Absolutely! COBOL is modern technology

Today’s modern COBOL is far from the days of green screen development consoles and proprietary, locked-in value. As a modern language, COBOL supports all contemporary deployment architectures, leading edge technology and composite applications. It integrates with Java, C#, Docker containers, mobile, .NET and JVM as well as Azure and AWS cloud environments, and runs across established operating environments like Linux, mainframes, Windows and UNIX. Today’s COBOL can work within SOA or RESTful web services, applications can run in the cloud or be deployed to mobile devices and can be developed in open environments. Today’s COBOL is agile, it escapes the silos and banishes the barriers with DevOps. COBOL can be used to build cloud, containerized and managed code apps with the language’s continued evolution of support that ensures that applications can not only meet the requirements of today, but also tomorrow

The path to modernization - bridging the gap between established (COBOL) and newer (digital)

Thriving in a competitive digital landscape means transforming the systems hosting core business processes with the lowest cost and risk through a comprehensive solution across three key pillars of modernization: application, process, and infrastructure. The key is in retaining the tried, tested, durable fundamentals and future proofing them for tomorrow’s requirements.

Join the COBOL SIG Community

And if you want to hear even more about COBOL, how other application developers are working with COBOL systems or you would like to meet other like-minded COBOL developers or perhaps expand your network and build new skills and the possibilities of how to make your applications fit for the digital age, we have a tip for you: Join the COBOL SIG Community, it is the place to be for you.

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